Make Like a Tree and Leave
It looks like Dr. David will be “graduating” from Harvard and getting a job-job at MathWorks, makers of the popular scientific software package MATLAB. His offer is still contingent upon background and reference checks, but his fourth interview on Friday went well and he should be good to go. With this new job, he will remain in Boston and enjoy a nice pay bump. He’ll no longer need to do math just for food anymore. With this move he will be leaving academia, which for him has spanned thirteen years and encompassed study and work at Rochester, NIH, Purdue and Harvard. We wish him well as he departs the ivory tower and enters the real world, where I’m sure that he will do very well.
Meanwhile back here on the farm, Ma and Pa Kettle are making last minute preparations for the imminent arrival of Jay and Carl. Jay has a conference in town and will combine business with pleasure and extend their visit and do some sightseeing. Too bad the Cards couldn’t provide any face-to-face baseball.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Dave and I used to play Warhammer 40K, with figures just like those pictured above. He texted me this photo, which coincided with Anne finding in the news that there has been a shooting in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn (4 dead, 7 shot). Dan lives in this neighborhood. Her motherly concern caused her to reach out to eldest her son and ask for proof-of-life. Not immediately getting an answer, she continued worrying and soon tried again. I checked the news and discovered that the shootings occurred at a gambling parlor, on a cross street near Dan. Eventually, he got back to us and everything was alright. Dave is with him in NYC this weekend and they are at a gaming parlor, playing Warhammer. They are playing for points, so no gambling is involved and hopefully no gunplay either. We really shouldn’t worry so much, NYC is safer than Saint Louis is these days.
Anne has been dissecting owl pellets at school. An owl pellet is something that owls cough up from their gizzard. Usually, they are composed of indigestible components of the prey that they feed on and comprise things like bones, feathers and bits of fur. Sounds truly disgusting, right? That’s what the third graders thought at first, but they got into it and soon took to the task with relish. She claims that she never touched any of the pellets, but instead used tweezers and toothpicks to examine them. The kids ended up doing most of the work anyway and Anne washer her hands afterwards. According to Anne, on a continuum of grossness, owl pellets are less gross than dead mice found while opening the cabin for the summer and way less gross than phlegm. I’m sure youth wanted to know. We’re planning on getting our flu shots this week, because although it is unlikely one would ever catch anything from owl pellets, there are plenty of other sources of disease in the third grade.
The powers of enlightenment won out yesterday and drew Anne back into school. “Against our will, Papa, against our will.” Her resistance wasn’t entirely futile though. She held out for two-hours and got to sleep in, before a personal, non-robotic appeal eventually succeeded. She ended up subbing for the ESOL teacher. Now ESOL doesn’t stand for Educator S— Out of Luck, but rather English as a Second or Other Language. It use to be called English as a Second Language, but many of these children already speak two or more languages, just not English. On this day, Anne taught kids from Syria, Cambodia, Russia, Brazil and various Hispanic countries. As a reward, she was gifted by one of her students with the pictured drawing.
The big news this week in the third grade is that the chicks have hatched. For weeks now, a dozen eggs have been incubating. Anne had to go into school over the Labor Day weekend to flip the eggs. Eleven of the twelve eggs hatched and all eleven seem to be doing well. Now comes their naming. Anne’s class gets to name two of the chicks. There is no shortage of suggestions. In a few weeks the chicks will be old enough to be sexed. City ordinance allows the keeping of chickens, but not roosters. This is not Key West. Here their early morning crowing is deemed a noise nuisance. After they are sexed, the male chickens will be sent back to the farm from whence they came. Eggs from the remaining hens will be harvested. For now the eleven sure are cute.
Anne Overlooking the Lamar River, Yellowstone
Anne is subsumed these days with teaching the third grade. I am happy for her. With this opportunity she has come closer to her goal of being a “real” teacher than she has for a long time. She started at the beginning of the school year and got to frolic for a week with all of the other teachers, as they prepared for the coming academic year, sans kids. It became more stressful, when the students arrived and she began to mold them with her expectations. She works long hours every school day and still has more work that she brings home. Her conversation is dominated by all things third grade. Frankly, I am feeling a bit neglected. Gone are those heady days of summer, where the two of us explored the West. That’s OK though, it is not for forever. I can tough it out and usually, once she gets her footing in one of these gigs, she eases up just a bit. Earlier this month I heard an interview with retiring Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi, who spoke about her husband sometimes complaining of being at the bottom of her priority list. “There are two ways to look at it. You should be happy you’re on the list.”
Antelope Canyon Portrait
This will be Anne’s last week of school. Everyone else still has almost two more weeks of school, but not Anne. This is an advantage of being a substitute. Next week, we begin our summer adventures. After all, what are the three best things about teaching? June, July and August. It is only mid-May, so we are front loading the summer a bit, but Anne snagged a long term substitute gig that begins in early August. So, there is not any time to waste. We’ll be doing some travel. We have a birthday boy to fête, a wedding to attend and plenty of sights to see.